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EPEAT Defends Awarding Retina MacBook Pro “Gold” Green Rating

In a blog entitled “Doing Our Job,” EPEAT has mounted a defence of their giving the MacBook Pro with Retina Display a “Gold” environmental rating. The organization has been weathering heavy criticism for allegedly “caving” to design trends that have made laptop computers difficult to impossible to upgrade internally and repair. However, EPEAT maintians that it has remaind adherent to the letter of their existing standards for certification, arguing that:

Regarding upgrade capability, the criteria specifically state that products may be upgraded or extended by a high performance serial bus (IEEE Std 1394 [B4]) or Universal Serial Bus (USB). Regardless of opinions about whether or not that is appropriate or acceptable language, the hard fact is that EPEAT has no authority to flunk products if they meet the explicit terms of the standard.

Regarding disassembly: The criteria under discussion are located in the section of the standard that addresses Design for End of Life that is, design for effective recycling. The criteria investigated are not in any way aimed at refurbishment or repair. Again, people may think that there should be more in the standard about disassembly for repair and refurbishment and we welcome their views but these criteria do not apply to that topic.

The standard also doesnt prescribe or forbid specific construction methods such as fasteners versus adhesives it just requires products to be easy to disassemble for recycling. The test lab went through the disassembly process and reported that the products were all easy to disassemble with commonly available tools.

Some of those points are of course matters for interpretation. For example, do Apple’s proprietary Pentalobe fastener screws really meet the “commonly available tools” criterion? Try to buy a Pentalobe screwdriver at your locak Walmart ot Target. And the folks at iFixIt would dispute that the rMBP with its glued in battery that they determined in an teardown couldn’t be removed non-destructively is “easy to disassemble” eveb in the context of teardown for recycling.

Also, if refurbishment and repairability are not qualities considered in green certification, they should be, but that’s another movie.

You can read the full blog at:
http://www.epeat.net/2012/10/blog/doing-our-job/

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